Discount for tarts is okay, rules advertising watchdog – but menstrual cycle joke is unacceptable

Wicked logoAdvertisers can call women tarts if they do so lightheartedly, the Advertising Standards Board has ruled.

The ASB chose not to uphold a complaint against Wicked Campers which offered a discount to former catholic schoolgirls and also made reference to “tarts in tartan” and sexy nuns.

The campervan hire company is among the businesses most complained about to the ASB. It did not respond to the ASB’s investigation.

According to the ASB:

“The Board noted that the advertisement is promoting a discount to former Catholic school girls and asks, ‘Were you a tart in tartan?’ and makes reference to ‘sexy nuns’.

The Board considered that the reference to ‘tart’ in the context of the advertisement is intended to be lighthearted and comedic and that it is consistent with the irreverent marketing approach by the advertiser; in this case that former Catholic school girls can get a discount on their booking. The Board noted that the advertisement appears on the website for Wicked Campers and visitors to this site would most likely be aware of Wicked’s marketing ethos.”

The tart discount does not currently appear on the Wicked Campers website. However it is currently offering discounts to people who claim to be “a massive pothead“, gay or bi curious, willing to pose for a naked photo, or are sexy.

In a separate ruling, the ASB said that a message on the back of a Wicked van – “I wouldn’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die” – was “extremely offensive and demeaning to women”.

The ASB ruled: “The Board considered that the reference to ‘bleeding for five days’ is a clear reference to the menstrual cycle of most women and is tasteless and denigrating. The Board noted that the size of the text and nature of the advertisement being on a vehicle, meant that the advertisement could be viewed by a very broad audience including children.”

Wicked did not respond to the ASB’s investigation.


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